Tuesday, November 15, 2011

#276 - Bobby Winkles/ Angels Field Leaders

This is only Bobby Winkles' second Topps card but he was already a baseball legend by the time it came out. Bobby was the first head baseball coach at Arizona State and during his tenure from '59 to '71 he won three D1 NCAA World Series in '65, '67, and '69. His record while there was 524-173 and he produced a pretty good share of Major League players, among them Sal Bando, Rick Monday, and Reggie Jackson. When Bobby was named manager of the Angels prior to the '73 season it represented a rarity in that few college coaches until then had made the transition to top guy in MLB. It would be a pretty tough introductory season: despite a pretty good pitching staff that sported two 20-game winners in Nolan Ryan and Bill Singer, the unsettled status of the infield positions and catcher and particularly the injury to Bobby Valentine dragged the team to yet another losing record, though just a few games south of .500. After a worse record to kick off the '74 season Bobby, who wasn't given terribly much of a chance, was fired. I guess Anaheim was a lot farther from Tempe than he thought.

Bobby Winkles was born in Arkansas and played ball at Illinois Wesleyan University (he was inducted into their hall of fame about when this shot was taken) from which he graduated and was signed by the White Sox in '51. He began his career that summer in A ball, hitting .291 as a shortstop. In B ball the following season he got off to a similar start when he was called into the service which kept him out of ball through '53. He returned for the '54 season and hit well in A ball but had a tough time keeping a good average going at the higher levels until he batted .279 at Double A in '57. He would combine for a .215 average the next year between Double and Triple A and then quit playing to take the new ASU position. He finished with a .270 average in the minors. In '72 he moved to the Angels as a coach and then assumed the manager post in '73. After losing that job the next year he moved right to Oakland to coach which he would do through '75. He then coached the Giants for '76 until early in '77 when he replaced Jack McKeon as manager back in Oakland. After a pretty bad finish to that season he was off to a good start in '78 - 24-15 - when he was replaced by Jack McKeon. That was it for his managing days. His record lifetime was 170-213. He then coached ('78 to '82) and was minor league hitting ('84 to '86) instructor for the White Sox before coaching for the Expos ('86 to '88). He then moved into the radio booth for Montreal as the English-language color guy which he did until he retired to Florida where he still resides.

Tom Morgan grew up in California and was signed by the Yankees in '49. He got off to a good start, winning 12 that year in C ball and 17 the next in A ball, all as a starter. After winning a couple in four starts in '51 at Triple A he came up to NY, moving into the rotation, and going 9-3 his rookie year. Off to a good start in '52 he then went into the military missing the balance of that season and all of '53. In '54 he reclaimed his spot and went 11-5. The next year he was moved to the bullpen and the next two seasons went 14-10 with 21 saves. He won two rings with NY but didn't pitch terribly well in the post-season (0-1 with a 5.59 ERA) and was traded to Kansas City after the '56 season in a deal involving 13 guys. After a season there he went to Detroit in another 13-player trade. He would also pitch for the Nats before going to the Angels in a sale before the '61 season. After four years during which he was a combined 16-21 with 18 saves and a 4.13 ERA, he enjoyed a two-year comeback in California, going 13-4 with 19 saves and a 2.58 ERA in '61 and '62. After a slow start and some minor league time in '63 he was released. Tom went 67-47 with a 3.61 ERA and 64 saves and 35-20 with a 3.47 ERA in the minors where he also hit above .300. He then moved right into coaching: as the Angels' minor league pitching instructor ('64-'65 and '67-'68) and minor league manager ('66 and '69); Yankees scout ('70-'71); Angels pitching coach ('72-'74); Padres pitching coach ('75); back for the Yankees as a minor league coach ('76-'78) and up top ('79); and back with the Angels ('81 -'83). He passed away from a stroke in '87 when he was only 56.

Salty Parker was signed by the Tigers out of East St. Louis in 1930 and ironically began his career with the D league Plowboys (Plowboy was Tom Morgan's nickname). A shortstop, Salty would put up some decent averages but progressed slowly and by '36 was in Double A ball. He also got into a few Tiger games that year - .280 with four RBIs in 25 at bats - that would comprise his whole Major League career. Later in the season he would be part of a trade that brought Dizzy Trout to Detroit. Salty ended up in the White Sox system where he would play at various minor league levels through '43. In '39 he added managing to his resume and by the time he went into the service in '44 he had won two league titles. He returned as a player for Montreal in '45, posting probably his best season - .298 with 77 RBIs and a .405 OBA - and just missing Jackie Robinson by a few months. He would return to the White Sox system in '46, play a couple more years, and continue managing in the system through '54 before moving over to the Giants one the next three years, making it to the finals for NY each year. He hit .278 for his career in the minors. He then moved up to San Francisco as the Giants' third base coach from '58 to '61. He followed that by coaching for Cleveland ('62), California ('64 to '66), the Mets ('67), and Houston ('68 to '72), before returning to the Angels ('73 to '74). He even managed: eleven games for the Mets in '67 and a couple for the Astros in '72 (his record up top was 5-8). After another season coaching ('75) and then managing ('76) back in the Giants chain, he moved to scouting for the Angels. By then he had relocated to Houston where he was also involved coaching youth leagues until he passed away in '92 at age 80.

Jimmie Reese - born James Soloman - was born in NYC and moved to Californa as a kid. A true baseball lifer he was a batboy in the PCL from when he was 12 until he was 21, with a year off for WW I (that's the first for a coach in this set). In '24 he kicked off his playing career for Oakland in that league when he was 22 (his real birth year was 1901, not '05) and was the starting shortstop there the next five seasons, his average peaking at .337 in '29. The PCL had super long seasons back then and for four of them Jimmie played in over 180 games. In '27 he and his DP partner Frank Lary were sold to the Yankees for $125,000 but were kept at Oakland until needed. Jimmie moved to NY in '30 and had a nice rookie year, hitting .346 in 188 at bats. In '31 his average fell to .241 but he did get to room with Babe Ruth that season. Following it he was traded to the Cards' organization and came up mid-year to hit .265. That was his last season up top and Jimmie finished with a .278 average with eight homers and 70 RBIs. In '33 he returned to the PCL where through '37 he would put up very good offensive numbers. He began coaching in '38 and by '40 was done as a player (he hit .288 in the minors). After coaching for the LA Angels from '40 to '42 he went into the Army from '42 to '45 where he coached and managed service teams. He then scouted for the Braves from '45 to '46. Back in the PCL he coached for the Padres from '48 to '62. briefly serving as manager in '60. He also coached for Hawaii ('63-'64 and '69), Seattle ('65-'68), and Portland ('70), before scouting for the Expos ('71-'72). He was a rookie coach for the Angels in '73 when he was 72, and developed a reputation as a master with a fungo bat, even able to use it to catch balls returned to him from the outfield. He kept that gig until '94 when he passed away at age 92. His number was retired by the team. He has a detailed bio on the SABR site.

Johnny Roseboro had by far the most successful Major League career of this group. He was signed by Brooklyn out of Central State College in Ohio in 1952 after a year-plus there on a football scholarship. He killed his first two seasons in the low minors - .365 and .310 - before being called halfway through '53 into the military. He returned in '55 to B and A ball and then moved up the next two seasons to Triple A Montreal where he hit .273 before being promoted mid-'57 to back up Gil Hodges at first. In '58 he took over behind the plate after Roy Campanella was paralyzed and was an All-Star his rookie year, hitting .271 with 14 homers. An outstanding hustler and handler of pitchers, he would be the LA starting catcher through '67 and during his time there he won two more All-Star nods and two Gold Gloves. He also was famously hit over the head with a bat by Juan Maricahal during a game. Following the '67 season he went to the Twins with Ron Perranoski and Bob Miller for Zoilo Versalles and Mudcat Grant. For Minnesota he would start for two seasons, earning another All-Star ticket, before being claimed by Washington for the '70 season. By the end of that year he was coaching and he finished his career with a .249 average with 104 homers and 548 RBIs. He also had 44 triples and hit .160 with a homer and seven RBIs in 23 post-season games, winning three Series titles with LA. He coached in DC through '71 when he moved to California as the bullpen coach from '72 to '74. He had also by then started a PR firm in California with his wife which used up most of his professional time. He would return on occasion to coach for LA. John passed away in 2002 of a stroke. He was 69.

In '74 in the music world, November 16th saw two new number one songs on both sides of the pond. In the States, ironically, John Lennon's "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" began a one-week run up top. In the UK "Gonna Make You a Star" by David Essex took over the next three weeks. Essex had a big hit over here with "Rock On" in '73 but did considerably better in the UK where he was an actor as well as a singer, appearing in "Godspell", "That'll be the Day", and "Stardust", and scored hits there through the late Seventies.

Back to baseball since Winkles never made it to the top as a player, this hookup only involves him as manager:

1. Winkles managed Bill Singer in '73 and '74 on the Angels;
2. Singer and Ron Hunt '67 Dodgers.

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